A Missouri court upheld a ruling Tuesday dismissing a lawsuit filed against the state by a Satanic Temple member who aborted her child and then sued, alleging the state’s abortion laws violated her religious beliefs.
Missouri’s 8th Circuit panel upheld a decision Tuesday dismissing the lawsuit and finding that it bears no weight because the woman was not pregnant when she sued the state of Missouri.
The court found that the case lacked standing because the plaintiff, identified as Mary Doe, “was not pregnant at the date the action was initiated,” the Courthouse News Service reported Tuesday. “Although ‘[p]regnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness,’ the doctrine does not apply here because she did not first establish standing,” the judges wrote in their unanimous decision.
The court’s decision comes after Satanic Temple member Doe filed a lawsuit against the state in 2015, alleging that its law requiring women to wait 72 hours after a doctor’s visit before aborting violated her religious beliefs.
Doe maintains that her “body is inviolable and subject to her will alone” and that she “makes decisions regarding her health based on the best scientific understanding of the world, even if the science does not comport with the religious or political beliefs of others,” according to Courthouse News. (RELATED: Another Satanic Temple Member Sues Over Missouri’s Abortion Laws)
Missouri law requires women to wait 72 hours before aborting following their doctor consultation. The legislation also asks abortion-seeking women to read a brochure advertising that life begins at conception and requires doctors give women the opportunity to view an ultrasound and listen to their baby’s heartbeat.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” a spokesman for Missouri’s Attorney General Joshua Hawley said in a statement, according to Courthouse News. “The attorney general’s office will continue to vigorously defend Missouri’s sensible waiting period law.”
The state has ruled in other abortion lawsuits filed by the Satanic Temple that life starting at conception is a philosophy rather than religious belief and does not violate the members’ principles. The state has also maintained that it does not force Satanic Temple members to let go of their convictions simply by adhering to the state’s informed consent laws.
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